Law and Order

Detective Elliot "El" Stabler, Sr. is a detective who previously worked in the Manhattan Special Victims Unit and currently works at the Organized Crime Control Bureau since 2021. While at SVU, he was partnered with Detective (later Captain) Olivia Benson for over thirteen years, and reported to Captain Donald Cragen.

In 2011, Stabler retired from the force after fatally shooting a teenage girl who started shooting at her mother's killers. After working private security for six years, he came out of retirement in 2017 to become the NYPD's liaison detective in Italy and moved his family to Rome. In 2021, following the death of his wife Kathy, Stabler returned to New York, reconnected with his SVU colleagues after ten years, and joined the Organized Crime Control Bureau.


Elliot had been married to Kathy Stabler for over 30 years; they were married in 1984 when they were both 17 years old. In 2021, Kathy was killed from a car bombing. Elliot has five children: Maureen Stabler (born 1984), Kathleen Stabler (born 1988), twins Richard Stabler and Elizabeth Stabler (born February 21st, 1993), and Elliot Stabler, Jr. (born November 17th, 2007. (SVU: "Paternity") He mentioned that he worked in the bar of his uncle. (SVU: "Class")

Through his daughter Maureen, Stabler is the father-in-law to Carl and the grandfather to at least two boys Kieran and Seamus. (OC: "The Christmas Episode") He is currently expecting a grandchild from his youngest son Eli.

Early life

Elliot was born on October 20, 1966, in Bayside, Queens. He came from an Irish American Catholic family and has five siblings: three brothers and two sisters. He also went to the Catholic Sisters of Mercy School. He was a devout Catholic whose faith sometimes complicated the cases he worked on.

His father Joseph was also a police officer. His father bailed him out when a group of rich students jumped him in college, but he beat them all back. The police were called to charge Elliot when the blame was put on him, but Joseph ensured the case was thrown out with his power as a cop, and Elliot was released. (SVU: "Class") Joseph lost his job and pension when he refused to testify about fellow police officers.

Elliot had a difficult relationship with his parents; his father physically and emotionally abused him, while his mother Bernadette suffered from bipolar disorder, a condition that Elliot's second-oldest daughter Kathleen would go on to inherit. Once, she nearly killed him during a manic phase when Elliot was three years old. His mother decided to drive them down Broadway during a snowstorm when she crashed the car into a lamppost while following snowflakes. As a result, he "erased his childhood" and for a long period maintained little contact with his mother. However, after the Stabler family returned to New York, Elliot reconnects with his now-medicated mother, who moves in with him and his youngest son Eli.

After he left the Marines, Elliot attended Queens College, where he earned his B.A.. (SVU: "Sophomore Jinx", "Hate")

Elliot served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and he has a USMC tattoo of an eagle, globe, and anchor on his forearm. He did a tour during Desert Storm.

Police force

With Manhattan Special Victims Unit

Stabler was a detective with Manhattan's 16th Precinct, also known as the Special Victims Unit, which investigates sex crimes. He was dedicated to his job, but this dedication occasionally turned into obsession, as he often takes cases personally, affecting his judgment. Nonetheless, Stabler had a 97% case closure rate. His badge number is 6313.

Stabler confided in retired Albany cop Sam Winfield, who was suspected in the murders of two sex offenders with HIV. He revealed that a serial child killer escaped for two years, which took a severe toll on him. When he arrested the killer by finding him in Chelsea on happenstance, it took all that Stabler had to not shoot the killer, finally relenting after seeing a little girl in the car, who he did not want to traumatize. (SVU: "Victims")

He had not been issued a passport until an investigation required him to travel to the Czech Republic in 2003. (SVU: "Pandora")

Stabler had, over the course of his career, suffered a host of injuries and faced a number of incidents; some of which have even threatened his job and his life.

In 2001, Stabler sustained a deep cut to the hand while searching the garage of former cop and murder suspect Sam Winfield. When he and Benson later pulled HIV-positive Gloria Palmera out of her tub after she slit her wrists in a suicide attempt, her blood soaked into Stabler's bandage, and he had to be tested for HIV and he took antivirals which made him sick. Fortunately, the test came back negative. (SVU: "Victims", "Paranoia")

In May 2003, Stabler let his feelings interfere with his duty when he was called to the stand by the Assistant District Attorney, Alexandra Cabot, where he provided unsubstantiated information (that the victim had been raped) to a dead girl's father he sympathized with. ("Grief (SVU)")

In May 2004, Elliot was groped and sexually assaulted by Meredith Rice, but he pushed her and she suffered a seizure from a brain tumor. (SVU: "Head")

In October 2004, Elliot was given a nosebleed by Ronald McCain.

In November 2004, Stabler was forced by Captain Cragen to take sick time in lieu of being suspended for refusing to seek counseling after finding the bodies of several murdered children in the Church of Wisdom and Sight; Stabler was flagged as being at risk for excessive emotional investment after mentioning to Dr. George Huang that one of the children was wearing the same brand of pajamas as one of his own kids. This was one of several incidents that contributed to the long-running acrimony between Stabler and Huang. Benson instead worked the case with John Munch, as Fin was also on sick leave.

In January 2005, Elliot fractured his ribs. Lindsay Stanton whacked him in the chest with a statue.

In September 2005, Elliot went undercover as parolee "Elliot McEvoy" in order to investigate paroled rapist Ray Schenkel. His actions were barely sanctioned by Cragen, and he was nearly pulled off the case after a failed attempt to bait his new "friend" with an undercover female officer. He later ended up in a sticky situation when Schenkel stole his van and picked up a live victim. He was knocked unconscious by Schenkel after setting the girl free, and came very close to being killed, but managed to put Schenkel in a sleeper hold.

In October 2005, Stabler encountered former partner Pete Breslin, whose son Luke was the prime suspect in an assault case. When Stabler advised the family of the victim not to file charges, Captain Cragen ordered him home for the remainder of the day. Stabler later witnessed Breslin assaulting Luke in the bathroom after Luke's arraignment. While defending the boy, Stabler lost his temper and beat Breslin unconscious. He sought counseling from Dr. Rebecca Hendrix, a forensic psychiatrist and former police officer, who helped him to deal with his long-repressed feelings toward his father.

Later that month, Stabler and John Munch had a close call when they were shot in the courtroom during the trial of white supremacist Brian Ackerman. Kyle Ackerman, Brian's teenage son, shot Stabler in the arm, while Christopher Rawlings, one of Brian's associates, shot Munch in the buttock. Munch fell to the floor after being shot, to which Stabler shot and killed Rawlings. Kyle used Casey Novak as a shield, but after Rawlings was shot, he let her go and shot Stabler in the arm. Stabler held his arm and fell unconscious. Kyle was then shot and killed by Dana Lewis who is revealed to be FBI. Stabler and Munch were rushed to Bellevue Hospital. They made a full recovery, and Stabler returned to work with his arm in a sling.

Stabler had another close call in January 2006, when he was held hostage by drug addict Daniel Hunter after a botched kidnapping, where was used as a human shield by Daniel in a bank. He was saved by Melinda Warner, who shot Hunter. In April of that same year, Stabler was held at gunpoint for several minutes in a warehouse by sadistic serial killer Victor Paul Gitano. Benson refused to shoot Gitano, as doing so would have put Stabler's life in even more danger. Benson subsequently asked to be reassigned because Stabler told her they couldn't put the other before the job if they were to remain partners.

In September 2006, Stabler was injured in an explosion involving dynamite but recovered from his injuries.

In November 2006, Elliot was stabbed in the chest with a pen. He was rushed to the hospital and Kathy and Kathleen came to the hospital to see if he was okay. There they meet his new partner, Dani.

In February 2007, Stabler injured his arm when Cupid threw him out the window, causing Stabler to lose all feeling in his arm. The doctor tells Stabler he came close to severing his radial nerve. Stabler assures him he was ready for work, but the doctor tells him he has to wait until the feeling comes back in his arm and hands. Cragen informs Stabler that he is on desk duty and that he would rather lose Stabler for a few weeks than attend his retirement party. Later that year, Stabler was put on suspension after he allegedly beat a teenage murder suspect to death. An eyewitness used a video phone to record the incident of Elliot punching and restraining the much smaller teen. Elliot was cleared of the charges when it was determined that the teen died due to cardiac arrest during the struggle, and the teen's internal injuries were not due to Elliot's use of force, but actually Elliot's attempts to use CPR to save the teen.

Stabler has been shown having to use deadly force. In one incident, a corrupt police officer raised his weapon at Stabler in fear of being caught, forcing Stabler to shoot him. (SVU: "Risk") At another time, Stabler shot a suspect who was threatening to shoot his hostage despite the suspect's willingness to work the situation out with Benson. (SVU: "Debt") His third known shooting was when he shot Christopher Rawlings when he pulled a gun in a courtroom and started shooting people with his accomplice Kyle Ackerman. (SVU: "Raw") The fourth time was when he shot Jenna Fox, a girl who opened fire in the precinct in retaliation for her mother's rape and murder. (SVU: "Smoked")

According to Cragen, there were two other occasions when Stabler used deadly force. (SVU: "Scorched Earth")

In September 2007, Stabler was temporarily blinded when schizophrenic rapist Saul Picard threw him into a car window.

In January 2008, Elliot was almost most choked to death by Cole Roderick. It was the second time he was almost choked to death. Luckily Elliot managed to break free and eventually subdue and arrest Cole for killing six people.

In October 2008, Elliot broken several ribs while trying to restrain 15-year-old Tommy Ross, who lashed out after his mother Susan died from untreated AIDS. Stabler pressed charges, but only did so in order to get Tommy to testify against his mother's doctor, Gideon Hutton; the charges were later dropped, though Stabler urged the boy to get tested for HIV, as Susan's death suggested that he was at risk for the disease. Tommy refused to get tested, but owed Stabler for dropping the charges so Stabler used it to convince him to meet a young boy named Kyle who was recovering from brain cancer after getting treated against his parents' wishes. Kyle convinced Tommy to get tested and he shared the results with Stabler: he was HIV positive, but Stabler convinced him his life wasn't over. (SVU: "Retro")

Stabler Trials

Stabler in 2008.

That year also saw Stabler get shot while working undercover to gather evidence against animal smuggler Andre Bushido. One bullet passed clean through his chest but did not damage any vital organs, while the other lodged in his bicep and had to be removed. Though he was urged to take a week off, he came back on the job the next day to take down Bushido. (SVU: "Wildlife")

In May 2009, Elliot and Fin were chasing Harrison, who set a gas trap that nearly killed him and Detective Tutuola. Ryan O'Halloran told them they were lucky to be alive. Elliot was knocked out from behind by Stuckey. Stabler's phone then rings with a call from Benson and Stuckey answers, saying Stabler went out for lunch and left his phone. He then ties Stabler to a chair and starts to torture Stabler. Stuckey admits he killed the woman at Coney Island in order to frame Harrison, and that he attacked Zimmer and Donnelly for embarrassing him. Benson arrives and is held at gunpoint by Stuckey, but she convinces Stuckey that she too hates Stabler and is in love with Stuckey. While Benson kisses Stuckey to distract him, Stabler kicks him from behind, allowing Benson to knock Stuckey out and free Stabler. He asks Benson how she knew he was in trouble and Benson tells him that Stuckey told her he went out for sushi, something she knows he doesn't like since it has raw fish. (SVU: "Zebras")

In October 2009, Elliot was thrown off of a roof by Callum Donovan, out of fear, not knowing that Elliot had come to apologize to him. Donovan not only had a history with Stabler (he was the arresting officer that led to his incarceration) but during a case where Donovan is thought to be the suspect Elliot had come close to assaulting him before being stopped. Due to the harsh conditions of his incarceration and, not knowing that Elliot had come to apologize, not arrest him, Donovan threw him off. Because of his actions, Donovan was sentenced with the charge of attempted murder of an officer. In a move that was unusual for Elliot, he decided to place himself in his assaulter's shoes in order to better understand why Donovan acted the way he did. Stabler voluntarily requested to be placed in solitary confinement for three days only to find the conditions psychologically unbearable due to the lack of communication and light (leading to the displacement of time). When he is released he yelled at the guard, emphasizing that he had requested to only be kept inside for three days. He is horrified to learn that no mistake was made and that only three days had passed. Knowing that Donovan had spent the majority of his nineteen-year incarceration in solitary confinement he requested that the charges be dropped. ADA Sonya Paxton, who had a shared animosity with Stabler declined the request under the pretense that Donovan will re-offend if given the chance. When Callum is convicted and jailed he attempted suicide by repeatedly slamming his head against the wall of his cell. In the infirmary, Callum informed Stabler that Sonya, unbeknownst to Stabler, requested that after he recovered, Donovan be allowed to spend the remainder of his sentence in the general population. This act made Stabler re-evaluate Sonya and the tension he had with her. (SVU: "Solitary")

During a case that involved eco-terrorists Stabler once again ran into FBI Agent Dana Lewis who was undercover. While investigating the eco-terrorist hideout Dana accidentally took the pinout of one of the explosives in a crate, resulting in the destruction of the house and Stabler being thrown back by the explosion and a subsequent concussion. This was the second time that he had been hospitalized while working with Agent Lewis. (SVU: "Informed")

In 2010, when Dana became a rape victim herself and turned to Olivia Benson for help, Stabler was injured while working alongside Dana for a third and final time. This instance saw Stabler receiving a gunshot wound (his second with Lewis) to the shoulder when Dana fired a bullet that ricocheted and pierced his shoulder. Though accidental, this incident led to Agent Lewis having her gun privilege suspended. (SVU: "Penetration")

While Elliot is normally mindful and respectful of the rules inside of a courtroom, he is not above making an exception if they conflict with him being able to provide information that will aid in a case. Most notably is an instance in October of 2010 when Elliot faked a hallucinogenic breakdown, leading to him being found in contempt and a subsequent visit to the hospital, in order to have a recess declared so he could relay pertinent information to the prosecution.

In 2011, Elliot was forced to fire on and take down an sixteen-year-old girl, Jenna Fox. Jenna, had come to the station to confirm that the people responsible for her mother's murder had been arrested. While there she was told and shown the three suspects and what their involvement was. Jenna acted as though she was going to leave but immediately returned and opened fire on the suspects, killing two and injuring the third. When her attention was drawn toward Elliot Jenna blindly fired and killed Sister Peg before ceasing fire. Elliot was nearly successful in getting her to drop the weapon when the injured suspect began taunting her. Though Stabler warned her again, when she raised the weapon to re-open fire, he fired a shot that punctured her in the ribs. As she fell, he ran to her and cradled her while she explained how she had purchased the weapon before perishing from the inflicted wound. (SVU: "Smoked")

Temporary Retirement and Working with NYPD in Italy

Though the subsequent investigation would decide that it was a "good shoot", due to Stabler's history of lethal actions throughout his career (deemed high even by his former captain) and his general stubbornness about going to mandated counseling before being allowed to return, there was doubt on whether or not he would return. Instead, Stabler, traumatized by Jenna's death, decided to formally retire. (SVU: "Scorched Earth") It was later revealed that he left town before the investigation was even concluded. (OC: "What Happens in Puglia")

After going for a "walkabout" for about six years working private security, Stabler rejoined the NYPD in 2017 as its liaison detective in Italy and moved himself, Kathy, and Eli to Rome. For the next four years, he would work in several task forces with Italian authorities combating mafia crimes and sex trafficking. In 2021, Stabler and his wife Kathy returned to New York City to attend an awards dinner for Benson. However, on their way to the event, their car was bombed and Kathy sustained major injuries, eventually dying from them. He was reunited with SVU as they initially investigated the case, but they were ultimately taken off of it. (SVU: "Return Of The Prodigal Son") Benson provided Stabler with all of the information and evidence she had on the case and Stabler, who had returned to New York partly to attend her awards ceremony, provided his old partner with the speech he had planned to give. Stabler successfully fought to be allowed to join the new Organized Crime task force that was being formed and survived another attempted assassination. (OC: "What Happens in Puglia")

With Organized Crime

Stabler's first major assignment for the Organized Crime's task force was investigating Richard Wheatley, the son of long-time crime boss Manfredi Sinatra. As they investigated, Wheatley and his associates became the lead suspects in Kathy Stabler's death.

After Wheatley's first arrest, Stabler was then assigned to go undercover as a man named Eddie Wagner, aka Eddie Ashes, to infiltrate an Albanian gang called the Kosta Organization before infiltrating the Brotherhood, a corrupt police gang as well as several other organized crime members such as Teddy Silas, Robert Silas, and Manny Rivera.

After Benson concluded the Oscar Papa case, Stabler drove Noah home and attempted to kiss Benson. However, Benson recoiled, saying she was not ready for a relationship. (SVU: "Blood Out")


Stabler often mentioned his family, particularly his children, sometimes as a way to gain trust with the victims. He was protective of his children and became defensive if a suspect asks about his family. Stabler once revealed that he helped deliver all of his oldest children (SVU: "Tragedy") to that point, and he sees aspects of them in every child molestation victim. As a result, he has an intense hatred of pedophiles, admitting to a shrink that he sometimes fantasizes about killing them but is able to keep his impulses in check. (SVU: "Slaves" and "Wrong Is Right") On several occasions, he has used excessive force on pedophiles or suspected pedophiles: ensuring the handcuffs hurt a protesting pedophile, (SVU: "Wrong Is Right") viciously beat a businessman for arranging a series of child rapes in foreign countries, (SVU: "Angels") beating a pedophile who held a teenage girl captive, refraining himself from killing a sleeping pedophile for his abuse of his own child (SVU: "Pandora"), almost drowning a serial pedophile after being disgusted by his crimes and only stopped when Benson got him to see reason. (SVU: "Serendipity"), attacking a kidnapping pedophile for abducting a teenage boy before regaining his wits, (SVU: "Web") struck a fleeing pedophile in the head with a wooden plank for his actions (SVU: "Impulsive"), angrily strangled another pedophile after he was accused of giving a boy an STD and only stopped after regaining his senses, nearly attacking a pedophile rights activist, (SVU: "Hardwired") broke into the apartment of a self-confessed pedophile and savagely attacked him for having a picture of his youngest daughter, almost losing his job, (SVU: "Confession") and savagely attacked a serial pedophilic assailant who assaulted a defenseless woman, until Fin stopped him. (SVU: "Possessed") Elliot was also disgusted by child murderers, angered by people actually being willing to kill a person around the same age as his kids. (SVU: "Fault") He later admitted in an interrogation of a retired cop that he had ran himself to point of exhaustion while investigating such a case and nearly killed the elusive perp for committing this crime and only stopped himself after seeing his surviving victim, who he thought went through enough trauma. (SVU: "Victims") He even threatened a perp for killing his family and lover, before being devastated by his reasoning that he walked out to regain his mind. (SVU: "Annihilated")

Because of his own upbringing, Stabler found it particularly disturbing when he sees aspects of himself in a child abuser; in one instance, an abusive parent reminded him of a time he lost his temper and slapped his then-toddler daughter Maureen. While he restrained himself from hurting her further, he was frightened by his loss of control. (SVU: "Shaken")

Stabler often connected with child victims on a fatherly basis and had been very willing to use physical force to apprehend a suspect that he believed to have harmed a child. In turn, many victims tended to respond to him very warmly. For example, Stabler successfully reached out to a fifteen-year-old girl who regressed to a childlike state after being attacked by her father. (SVU: "Resilience")

At one point, Stabler and his wife separated, and Kathy moved in with her mother. (SVU: "Doubt") Though she had sole custody of their children, they frequently visited their father, once surprising him at work on his birthday. Kathy eventually sent him divorce papers; (SVU: "Raw") later, Stabler realized during a case involving a divorcing couple that "when love twists into hate, there's nothing you won't do," and silently returned the signed papers to his wife. However, eventually, Stabler showed up at Kathy's house at night after being cleared in the supposed beating death of a suspect. (SVU: "Dependent") He told her that he loved both his job and his family, and couldn't live with the thought of losing either, and asked for a reconciliation with his wife, saying "I want to come home". Stabler eventually moved back home with his family; he met Kathy for drinks to discuss rebuilding their relationship. (SVU: "Sin") They ultimately became intimate once again. (SVU: "Annihilated")

At one point, Stabler took his daughter Kathleen's driver's license and burnt it. (SVU: "Responsible") He did this because, two years prior, Kathleen had been arrested for DUI and Elliot had used his clout as a police officer to get the charge to disappear. Reasoning that he could not be a good father if he did that, Elliot decided to take away Kathleen's license. In 2007, Kathleen was arrested again for the DUI. (SVU: "Screwed") Kathy also told Elliot that she was pregnant and that she wanted him to come home; he did so and reconciled with Kathy. (SVU: "Alternate") Around that time, Kathy was briefly held hostage in their home by a knife-wielding perpetrator who allegedly suffered from multiple personality disorder and who appeared to be stalking Elliot.

Kathy's pregnancy continued to progress normally, and Kathleen did not receive jail time for her DUI conviction but was sentenced to community service. (SVU: "Alternate")

Kathy was seriously injured by a drunk driver who hit Olivia's car when she was driving Kathy to a doctor's appointment. Olivia and a team of firefighters managed to get Kathy out of the car and into an ambulance, where Kathy gave birth to a baby boy. Kathy's life appeared to be in jeopardy but she survived. Elliot was grateful to his partner, who asked him what name he and Kathy chose. Elliot said Kathy wanted to name the boy after him. "Just what the world needs," Olivia quipped, "another Elliot Stabler." (SVU: "Paternity")

At another point, he viciously punched out his former idol who killed a woman, for having the audacity to shake his son's hand. (SVU: "Lunacy")

Following his shooting of a young girl he was completely destroyed by his actions and ultimately chose to retire from the NYPD without even saying goodbye to his colleagues who he had worked with for over a decade.

When he returned to SVU after 10 years, he confided in Fin that he felt guilty about not talking to Benson prior to his resignation, stating he did not know what to say to her.

His wife being killed in a car bombing caused Elliot to experience PTSD as he suffered nightmares and started behaving erratically. He became determined to avenge the death of his wife swearing to any suspect that they were dead. To that end, he put distance between himself and his family and focused on his job, despite the concerns of Kathleen, Eli, and Benson.

Despite his focus on his job, glimpses of his old self were still seen such as him being quick to protect Eli from being abducted or when he assured Kathleen that he was fine and retracted a statement that indirectly referred to her being bipolar.

When Benson and his family held an intervention, he denied having a problem. However, this action would cause his relationship with his family and his old partner to become strained. However, it was restored once Kathy's killers were caught and Stabler and Benson reconnected during Fin's wedding.


Before being partnered with Olivia Benson in 1998, Elliot was partnered with Jo Marlowe (his first female partner), Pete Breslin, Dave Rosetti, and "Old Fatso" Alfonse.

Pete Breslin

An officer who used to be his partner before Olivia. Not much is known of their status, though they got along. They were close enough for Pete to be familiar with Kathy.

Stabler encountered Breslin again and the two caught up and Pete was shocked that Elliot and Kathy were separated. When Pete's son was accused of a crime this caused tension and Stabler wanted to apologize but found that Pete's son Luke had shot Pete, grazing him in the head, before fleeing. Stabler rushed him to a hospital, where he recovered. Stabler brought in Luke, who had been at his friend's house and threatening to commit suicide when Stabler explained that Pete was still alive. (SVU: "Ripped")

Olivia Benson

Stabler's partner for thirteen years was Olivia Benson. Their relationship wasn't without friction, as the two sometimes argued over the cases they worked on; Benson was quicker to side with the victims while Stabler was more impartial. This became obvious when three women were charged with raping a male stripper; Benson and Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot were quick to come to the man's aid, while Stabler took a cynical view of his claim from the start. (SVU: "Ridicule") This also came to a head when a woman going through a bitter divorce claimed her husband raped her. (SVU: "Burned") Benson instantly believed her, while Stabler thought she might be lying. Stabler told her that as she was not married, she did not know how bitter divorces could be; while she accuses him of letting his own divorce influence his judgment. Ultimately Stabler was proven right, the woman's husband ultimately sets her on fire, but he never raped her.

Benson and Stabler were separated at times during their partnership. At one time, Benson was briefly reassigned to the Computer Crimes division and replaced by a Queens SVU detective, Lucius Blaine. (SVU: "Fat") Benson returned to SVU soon after. (SVU: "Web") Later, Benson teamed up with an FBI agent and eventually went undercover in Oregon to infiltrate an eco-terrorist group. (SVU: "Infiltrated")

Stabler's wife Kathy was worried that her husband preferred being at work with Benson but was told by Benson that it wasn't true. Elliot also had respect for Benson's privacy, as he did not pry into her relationship status after learning she was seeing Kurt Moss. (SVU: "Closet")

Season 11 episode 21 introduced a former partner of his, Jo Marlowe, who is now an ADA. He has had at least two other partners: Dave Ruzzetti, who committed suicide over his inability to solve Debbie Cooper's murder, (SVU: "Execution"), and Alphonse, who retired and moved to Florida, and may have been his partner immediately prior to Olivia Benson. (SVU: "A Single Life")

Elliott left between Seasons 12 and 13 but Olivia was told that he was on leave. In the Season 13 premiere, Cragen tells Olivia that Elliot filed for retirement. She went into an interrogation room and cried. Stabler did not tell her goodbye. Cragen ordered her to pack Stabler's stuff.

Olivia became very cold immediately after. She got upset at Cragen for bringing in Rollins and Amaro because she would have to teach them everything since she was so used to working with experienced people. Cragen then assigns Amaro to work with her, regardless. She even adopted some of Elliot's abilities such as abusing suspects during interrogation. During the William Lewis arc, she subdued Lewis. She monologues while looking at his unconscious body, torturing him and calling Elliot to help her. Lewis also implied Benson wanted to see him again, something she did not deny.

Elliot, despite being gone for ten years, has had a very lasting impact on Olivia.

When the two reunited in 2021, Benson was very shocked to see Stabler especially with the circumstances regarding his wife. Kathy was even pleased to see them together again, remarking how they are still in sync. They have more or less regained part of their old friendship with talks. Elliot was also pleased to hear from Fin that Benson was a mother. Since their reunion, it is speculated by many characters that Stabler and Benson have romantic tension between them. A great example was when he told her that he loved her, during an intervention held by his kids but quickly covered it up. The crime lord Richard Wheatley even believes that Olivia is the woman that Elliot loves and remarked on this to Elliot.

Lucius Blaine

Dani Beck

Elliot's replacement partner when Benson takes an undercover assignment. In 2006, Elliot met Beck after a case. Beck had very different opinions on sexual assault compared to Stabler, which subsequently left Stabler having doubts on whether she was suited for the Special Victims Unit or not. She often found herself getting upset or traumatized by some cases, even getting too involved in some.

There was some romantic tension between Beck and Stabler, and they share a passionate kiss in (SVU:"Underbelly"). However, they never take their relationship to the next step because Elliot was still in love with his wife, despite being separated. When Elliot was stabbed, Dani was worried and held his hand before Elliot quickly dropped Dani's hand when Kathy and Kathleen arrived (having been called by Beck). Although Kathy was pleasant to Dani, she later revealed that she did not like her, and possibly suspected that there was something going on between Elliot and Dani. (SVU: "Cage", "Burned")

On a case, Beck bonds with an abused child and takes her in, only to find that there is nothing she can do to help her when the child tries to burn down her house in an attempt to kill herself and Dani so they could be together forever. Traumatized, Beck decides to leave SVU while Elliot tried to plead with her to stay, as a hopeful Beck believed he may have wanted to be with her romantically by asking her to stay. However, Elliot couldn't convey his possible feelings, due to his family. Disappointed, she bids him goodbye and returns to her original assignment in the Warrants Squad.

Ayanna Bell

In 2021, Stabler joined the Organized Crime Control Bureau, and he was the only member when he arrived. Bell first met Stabler in a prison, where he was threatening prisoners suspected of murdering his wife Kathy. A few days after Stabler joined the Organized Crime Control Bureau, Ayanna started to gain more members such as Diego Morales, Freddie Washburn, and Jet Slootmaekers. Bell's main target was businessman and crime boss Richard Wheatley, who has close ties with the Mafia and is suspected to be involved in organized crime with his online pharmaceutical company Contrapos.

Officer-involved shootings


  • Stabler was a police officer for 25 years and a detective for 22 years (in SVU 19 years). He joined the NYPD in 1986, (SVU: "Wrong Is Right") was promoted to detective Christmas 1989, (SVU: "Solitary") joined SVU in late 1992, (SVU: "Rooftop", SVU: "Authority") and retired on August 11, 2011 (according to SVU: "Scorched Earth" (09/21/2011) scene cards).
  • Stabler has a deep-seated distrust of psychologists and psychiatrists stemming from his being hauled in front of the Morris Commission after being interviewed by Dr. Audrey Jackson (SVU: "Slaves"). This has manifested itself in his hostility towards Dr. George Huang, whom he views as meddlesome, particularly when it comes to interrogations. (SVU: "Execution", "Demons", "Scavenger")
  • According to his mother, as a child, Stabler wanted to be an architect, (SVU: "Swing") since he made buildings out of blocks when he was eight. However, he mentioned to Dickie that he briefly considered being an astronaut. (SVU: "Lunacy") Stabler has said he always wanted to be a cop, (SVU: "Ripped", "Swing") but he later does admit to Frank Donnelly that if he weren't a cop, he would have been an architect. (OC: "Change The Game")
  • Stabler's blood type is A+, the same as Olivia. (SVU: "Choreographed")
  • Stabler carries a Glock 19 as his sidearm and a Kahr K9 as his off-duty sidearm.
  • In the episode "Solitary", Stabler mentions how he got appointed to Detective in 1989, which would have made him 23 (which is near impossible in real life since you have to be 21 on the day of hire and do at least 18 months in an investigation unit before earning your gold shield, not simply run into a bank robber).
  • Whenever the SVU team is involved with FBI Agent Dana Lewis, Elliot gets injured. Three times Elliot said it was because of her. Dana later joked about this in her third appearance in SVU.
  • Stabler has been hurt ten times in the line of duty.
  • Stabler has nearly lost his life 14 times in the line of duty.
  • Stabler has been held hostage by Daniel Hunter, Victor Paul Gitano, and Dale Stuckey.
  • Stabler was mentioned in the series a few times following his departure:
    • In "Surrender Benson", Benson told William Lewis that "her old partner" would have known exactly what to do with him. Lewis referenced this during his trial. Benson even contemplated calling Stabler to come to deal with Lewis, though she ultimately did not.
    • In "Gambler's Fallacy", after Rollins' gambling addiction gets the better of her when she sneaks to an illegal gambling club, Fin asked Benson what she would do if her partner was in trouble, referring to Amaro and Stabler.
    • In "Surrendering Noah", Benson tells Amaro that she'd "grown more in [her] four years with [him] than [she] did in the twelve years with [her] old partner".
    • In "Chicago Crossover", Benson notes that Stabler shares many similarities with Sergeant Hank Voight from Chicago P.D. while criticizing him for his harsh methods with suspects. Indeed, both Stabler and Voight often employed violent and extreme methods to force a confession out of suspects, and both men despised pedophiles compared to other types of criminals.
      • However, Stabler was never a dirty cop, unlike Voight. Also, in many ways, Voight could be considered to be more extreme than Stabler ever was, performing illegal acts that Stabler would never have done, such as deliberately framing innocent men for crimes such as murder, and committing cold-blooded murder himself against a defenseless man (though that man had murdered Voight's son).
  • While not a dirty cop, per se, Stabler tends to be an abusive detective, due to his anger management issues and his frequent assaulting of suspects and violations of suspects and defendants' constitutional rights.
  • So far in the franchise, Stabler has read a suspect or culprit their Miranda rights as, "You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."
  • In the episode "Zebras", it is stated that Stabler doesn't like raw fish.
  • After leaving SVU, he did a walkabout for six years and then later moved to Rome for about four years with his family.
  • Stabler is the fourth main character in the franchise to have been played by more than one actor who would be portrayed as a child by James Lynch in the second season of Law & Order: Organized Crime. The first is John Munch when his teenage years were depicted in Homicide: Life on the Street. The second is Claire Kincaid who was portrayed by her twin sister Jacqueline Hennessey in the sixth season episode Corpus Delicti and the third being Arleen Gonzales who was portrayed by a different actress in the pilot episode of Law & Order: LA and the fifth being Bobby Reyes who was portrayed by Joshua Garcia in the third season of Law & Order: Organized Crime.


  • Elliot lived at 72-12 Castleside Street in the Glen Oaks section of Queens with his family. (SVU: "Pure", "Paternity", "Swing", "Lunacy")
  • Munch referred to Elliot as a Desert Storm veteran. (SVU: "Goliath") However, Desert Storm ran from August 1990 through February 1991 when Elliot was a detective in the NYPD - unless he was a reservist.
    • As seen in "Semper Fi", Elliot held the rank of Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, serving with the 2nd Battalion, 30th Marines during Desert Storm (and a couple of places that didn't make the news); his military awards as seen in his footlocker include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (with 1 bronze service star, indicating 2 awards), Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Campaign Medal, Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon, and Kuwait Liberation Medal.
  • Actor Nick Chinlund also originally screen-tested for the role of Stabler, according to Meloni. Chinlund later appeared in the SVU episode "Execution" in a different role.
  • He was often referred to as "El" (instead of Elliot) by many people such as his partner, Olivia Benson, Captain Cragen, Kathy Stabler, and others.
  • Stabler was often the senior detective on cases because he has been in the unit for longer than anyone else. He started there in late 1992. (SVU: "Rooftop")
  • Stabler is a detective first grade. (SVU: "Haystack")
  • Elliot's shield number is #6313.
  • One of Elliot's best friends died in the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks that took place in 2001.
  • Between the end of Season 12 and the beginning of Season 13, Elliot was put on administrative leave. Although he was cleared after the shooting, he chose to retire from the police force.
  • The directors of SVU later admitted that Stabler's abrupt departure from SVU was handled rather poorly.
  • Stabler's departure created a major shift in the show. After his departure, Nick Amaro and Amanda Rollins were hired in Season 13, and longtime running characters Captain Donald Cragen and John Munch were retired in Season 15, leaving Olivia Benson as the only character from Season 1 to still be on the show.
  • He and his son Eli lived in apartment 5B. (OC: "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of")


Icon SVU Law & Order: Organized Crime - Main Characters

Squad Supervisors: Ayanna Bell

Senior Detectives: Elliot Stabler

Junior Detectives: Bobby ReyesCarmen RileyJet SlootmaekersJamie Whelan

Crime Family: Angela WheatleyRichard Wheatley